New & Noteworthy

Archive for December, 2015

24 Dec 2015

2015 Year in Review

In 2015, the NSC Alliance engaged in a number of notable activities to raise the profile of natural history collections with policymakers, researchers, and the general public. A few highlights are presented below:

  • Successfully re-nominated LindaLee (Cissy) Farm to serve on the Native
    American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act Review Committee. She
    previously chaired the committee from 2013-2015. NSC Alliance initially
    nominated her based on the recommendation of the Bishop Museum.
  • Provided testimony to House and Senate Appropriations Committees in support
    of increased funding for research, curation, and digitization of natural history
    collections from the National Science Foundation and the Department of the
  • Held a science briefing for policymakers in Washington, DC, in December 2015
    on progress toward the goal of digitizing the nation’s biodiversity collections.
    The event also showcased ways to use crowdsourcing and citizen science in
    natural history collections.
  • NSC Alliance identified and nominated members to participate in the
    Biodiversity Collections Network “Collections Communication Workshop” that
    was held at The Field Museum in September.
  • Provided comments to the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation
    Committee about what should be included in legislation to reauthorize the
    National Science Foundation.

Read the NSCA 2015 summary.

15 Dec 2015

NSC Alliance Holds Briefing on Digitization

The Natural Science Collections Alliance presented a briefing on digitization of natural history collections for staff of congressional offices, federal agencies, scientific organizations, and non-governmental organizations. The event was held in the Capitol Visitors Center in Washington, DC on 14 December 2015.

Dr. Larry Page, President of NSC Alliance and Director of iDigBio, provided the context of what digitization is and why it matters.

Larry Page Presentation

Dr. Barbara Thiers, Vice President for Science Administration at the New York Botanical Garden, provided examples of how digitized specimen data is helping to address infectious disease, invasive species, and loss of biodiversity.

Barbara Thiers Presentation

Dr. Austin Mast, Director of the Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium at Florida State University, presented on crowdsourcing collection digitization.

Austin Mast Presentation

Looking for more resources?  Read the paper from NSC Alliance on “Biological Specimens Go Online: The New Digital Frontier of Collections.”

10 Dec 2015

Registration Open for the NSC Alliance Briefing on Digitization

NSC Alliance will be presenting a science policy briefing for policymakers on “Digitization: New Tools for Increasing the Use of Natural History Collections for Research, Education and Informed Decisionmaking.” NSC Alliance members and others interested in digitization of natural history collections are welcome to attend.

Monday, December 14, 2015
Time: 2:30 p.m.
Location: Capitol Visitor Center SVC-212, Washington, DC

Natural history collection specimens and their associated data are an irreplaceable scientific resource that provides the information society needs to understand the history of life on Earth and the data necessary to develop predictive models and tools useful to decision makers grappling with complex questions related to environmental stewardship, food safety and security, and public health. This briefing will explore recent efforts to digitally capture images of scientific specimens and their associated data. Speakers will address how digitization is making collections more accessible and how citizen scientists are engaging in the effort.


Dr. Larry Page
President, Natural Science Collections Alliance
Director, iDigBio
Curator of Fishes, Florida Museum of Natural History
A National Campaign to Mobilize Natural History Collections Data

Dr. Barbara M. Thiers
Vice President for Science Administration
Patricia K. Holmgren Director of the William and Lynda Steere Herbarium New York Botanical Garden
Natural History Collections: Understanding our Past to Inform our Future

Dr. Austin Mast
Director of the Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium, Florida State University
Associate Director of the Institute for Digital Information & Scientific Communication, Florida State University
Associate Professor, Department of Biological Science, Florida State University
Crowdsourcing Collection Digitization: Solving a Science Problem and Improving STEM Literacy

An RSVP is required to gain entry to the room. RSVP at

07 Dec 2015

Upcoming NAGPRA Training Sessions

Training sessions are being offered by the National Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act Program on compliance with the law and on grant writing.

“Preparing for and Writing Grant Proposals”
Phoenix, AZ — January 27-28, 2016
Advanced rate registration by: December 18
Deadline to register: January 13

“NAGPRA Essentials”
Anchorage, AK — February 2, 2016
Advanced rate registration by: December 23
Deadline to register: January 19

“Preparing for and Writing Grant Proposals”
Anchorage, AK — February 3-4, 2016
Advanced rate registration by: December 23
Deadline to register: January 19

“NAGPRA Essentials”
Honolulu, HI — March 2, 2016
Advanced rate registration by: January 20
Deadline to register: February 17

Learn more at